In any mainstream genre, a record’s release is seen from a mile away. Surprise appearances, interviews, and album reviews attempt to conjure up enough attention so that the record has a strong debut. Some artists even leak their own album to build up some backwards, label-defying hype.
Unfortunately, this is the only way to do it in a major genre. Anything short of this would be a gamble. Until yesterday.
Beyoncé released her self-titled album amidst the darkness of early Friday morning. Only available on iTunes, somehow the Beyoncé release date was kept top-secret despite appearances by Justin Timberlake, Drake, and Frank Ocean. Racking up 31 total tracks, 17 of which are music videos, Beyoncé is a testament to how visual our media consumption has become.
The message from Beyoncé is clear. Mainstream releases do not have to be an artificial wave of hysteria. Beyoncé said to her fans, if you want this album then here it is. She was not going to force preconceived notions about what it might be. Fans can create opinions for themselves before Rolling Stone creates one for them. And so far Beyoncé’s gamble has paid off. Three hours after the midnight release, Beyoncé sold 80,000 copies.
This ultimately seems like a step in the right direction for music consumers. Beyoncé has illustrated the fact that it comes down to the music. She’s challenging herself while also proving to us that she can sell records without hype. That’s the type of artist we should be investing in. One that is willing to bet on the art.
Editorial by Jeremy Gold (@jeremyleegold) Red Dog Music Group (www.reddogmusicgroup.com)
Beyonce Updates (Edited by David M. Ross)
• Beyonce’s fifth album launched Thursday evening at 12 midnight; $15.99. No a la carte purchases until Dec. 20.
• Singles: Top 40, Pharrell Williams-produced “Blow”; “Drunk In Love” at R&B/HipHop
• Project’s final plans were code named “Lily” for secrecy…
• Interactive streaming services get access to the album next week; webcaster Songza’s statutory license allowed it to start featuring tracks immediately in its radio style format…
• Beyonce’s last studio set sold 310k debut week, July 2011
• In one full day the new album sold over 430k, insuring it will move Garth Brooks out of the Top spot on the Top 200 Album list on the coming chart.
• According to BillBoard, after three days sales through the close of business on Sunday, Dec. 15, Beyonce sold 617,000 downloads. Beyonce also achieves the highest sales week of 2013 for a woman and the largest since Taylor Swift’s Red debuted with 1.2 million in Oct. 2012.